RYE, N.H. (AP) -- A necropsy is being performed Wednesday on an 18-year-old dead humpback whale that had been named Snow Plow by scientists, days after she washed ashore in New Hampshire.
Snow Plow had been studied since she was a calf in the southern Gulf of Maine.
Fishermen had reported seeing the whale's corpse floating 20 miles out to sea on Sunday. Officials believe she had been dead for several days before washing ashore near the town of Rye.
About 20 people from the New England Aquarium in Boston were performing a necropsy on the 45-foot whale, which weighs 40 tons.
"They could be down a path for example, that she has a load of parasites. It could be she has cancer. It could be she has ship-strike trauma," David Morin of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration told WMUR-TV. "You just kind of have to see, just like in a regular human autopsy, kind of where it leads you and then you kind of go from there."
The Seacoast Science Center's Marine Mammal Rescue Team has been working with the town over the disposal of the mammal.